Chad: Boosting literacy and practical skills through non-formal education
- More than half of Chad's population cannot read.
- GPE is supporting Chad and partners to strengthen education and literacy, with a focus on the poorest regions.
- Thousands of out-of-school children, youth and women have been able to learn literacy, numeracy and vocational skills through non-formal education programs.
This story was written in collaboration with UNESCO Chad.
Veronique is 14 years old and lives in the town of Bongor in southern Chad. She completed literacy training, learning how to read, write and count in the local Massa language, thanks to an initiative of the government of Chad to boost literacy and practical skills through non-formal education.
Today she is enrolled in a vocational training program, where she is learning knitting and tailoring. She already sells her crochet placemats at the local market, and is proud to teach her newly learned skills to her extended family.
In the future, she hopes to open her own boutique and generate a regular income.
Veronique is one of 32,760 out-of-school children who have benefited from non-formal basic education programs in Chad, acquiring basic literacy and practical skills.
With a $50 million grant from GPE for the period 2018–2023, and with UNESCO and UNICEF as grant agents, the government is addressing numerous education sector concerns, including the fact that 60% of the population cannot read.
Ongoing challenges impacting the education system include high population growth, lack of financial resources, poverty, conflict, regional insecurity leading to population displacement, and the implications of climate change.
Chad made great progress in primary school enrollment from 1990–2014, but financial crisis led to a drop in the gross enrollment rate from 100% in 2014 to 82% in 2017.
In 2017, the primary school completion rate was at 42%. Additionally, learning outcomes are poor: fewer than half of primary school leavers can read.
GPE’s funding supports the Project to Strengthen Education and Literacy in Chad (Projet de renforcement de l'éducation et de l'alphabétisation au Tchad – PREAT).
The government and partners are targeting the need to expand access to primary education, improve completion rates and increase literacy rates, as well as improve social and gender equality, with a focus on the poorest regions.
Engaging those outside of the formal education system
Chad is also emphasizing the importance of reaching out-of-school youth as well as adults who never learned to read.
Training programs provided by the Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion include non-formal basic education for adolescents age 9 to 14, basic literacy for people age 15 and older, and vocational training for women and youth. The objective is to ensure their socio-economic integration.
Charles took part in literacy training; this was the first time the 15-year-old attended school.
On completing the program, he enrolled in a vocational training program in carpentry. In the future, he plans to open his own carpentry shop.
Of the almost 33,000 out-of-school children who have participated in the GPE-supported non-formal education programs, more than 740 have been reintegrated into the formal education sector.
Improving gender equality through education
The majority of the illiterate population in Chad is female.
Esther is one of 42,260 people age 15 and older outside of the formal education system who have participated in literacy training.
More than 80% of GPE-funded literacy training participants are women, and vocational training is targeted at women.
Antoinette is a 67-year-old widow raising four grandchildren in Bongor. Thanks to the literacy and vocational training programs, she is able to read, write and count in Massa, her mother tongue.
She has set up a small shop and is able to communicate through her phone as well as perform simple calculations with it. She is saving her earnings to achieve her dream of opening a bigger shop in the central market.
Over 10,900 women have been trained in trades and are now living more independent lives.
The training focused on the processing of shea, neré, manioc and peanuts; market gardening; raising goats, sheep and poultry; and sewing, carpentry, woodwork and masonry.
Thanks to these trainings, the participants were able to increase their income. In addition to supporting their households, some women are now able to send their children to school and pay for their family’s medical care.
Participants also celebrate the benefits of knowing how to read, write and do basic math: from being able to write their own name to being able to follow medical prescriptions, literacy has changed their lives.
Transforming the education system
Chad’s efforts to provide non-formal education complement activities to improve formal education at the primary level. With GPE funding, UNICEF is helping Chad build more primary school classrooms, latrines and water infrastructure.
UNESCO is helping improve the supervision and conditions of teaching.
To date, 9,400 out of 11,300 primary school teachers have completed in-service training to improve their skills.
Additionally, Chad has created a national directorate within the Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion to assess and report learning outcomes of students in formal and non-formal education. This will strengthen education system planning and management.
Since joining GPE in 2012, Chad has received over $122 million to continue building a stronger education system.
GPE is proud to support the country’s efforts to deliver quality education so that more children, youth and women can thrive and contribute to their society.